An Ideal ROTC Program

They offered ROTC programs to the citizens of a signified nation wherein one subjects to training or serving the armed forces in a time, as per variations in the jurisdiction. However, discussions regarding this matter arose across social media sites where it has made mandatory on the grounds that one believes it instills discipline and patriotism.

Marching cadets. Source: ARESCOM, Philippine Army website.

Joining ROTC or its equivalent like CMT is a certified guarantee for a citizen of a specified nation to join a part of the reserve force where in case of conflict or humanitarian help and disaster response, such force will serve as additional reinforcements wherein the whole armed forces can do out of its mandate.

Speaking of which, there are nations like South Korea, Israel, Switzerland, and even Singapore where joining to the military is purely mandatory wherein such nations can cope up with their necessity security and defense needs. 

With South Korea, it is in preparation against their adversaries from the North with their leaders from Pyongyang. 

Israel, meanwhile, needs to defend itself against its predominantly Arabic neighbors whose hatred for Israel they deemed that huge, not to mention political strife across the region. 

Switzerland's case is to have effective neutrality where they are unscathed on both two world wars, and that means being armed for deterrence. And Singapore's small area as a nation badly needs sufficient, if not additional military personnel. That, in that case, makes sense.

In the Philippines, there is this ongoing issue whether ROTC program should be gone back to mandatory, just like the old days, or the voluntary one in the way it is today wherein they entice people to join their program and making the experience much effective than their NSTP-CWTS and NSTP-LTS counterparts.

Now the question lies here - What makes of an ideal ROTC program a mandatory one? Or a voluntary one?

Screenshot from the PDA page. Link for the site here

Before anything else, let us check the news articles as per the making of this blog post. Right now, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the newly elected leader of the country, said in his State of the Nation Address speech that ROTC gets a revision to be applied as mandatory to all boys and girls taking the college to take the program, abolishing NSTP programs altogether.

In that case, upon the first impression of a patriot who idolized a leader like Duterte, decisions such as these are a big welcome for this nation based on the two things that what perceives as progress for the nation, naming discipline and patriotism. As far as these things are concerned, one will really get surprised that most of the very experienced people who joined ROTC, even the ones who serve as regulars in the armed forces, really reject the idea of a mandatory ROTC. Why?

Before proceeding, let us check the statistics made on the site where a poll made by the Philippine Star sees the percentage of those who favor or not.

The statistic results.

Based on the results given above, it is a proposition that many people really wanted to have the revival of mandatory ROTC. Why?

The answer: It is because that modern Philippine society, on the perceptions made by the people across the social media, is more feminine in its content where a typical youth spends time on telenovelas, endless love-related issues like love triangles and mistresses, and most of all, online memes that have little or no factual basis to get back up. One can say that NSTP programs, ROTC included, are just mere minor subjects that are irrelevant to the courses a teenager can imagine.

There are some truthful things in such a thing about these minor subjects that spark hatred among students where it will go on for the rest of their lives. That alone is one of the very reasons among people who have experience of such the program and also those in the regular force that a mandatory ROTC is not favorable in this society.

Now, some people will now ask: If Israel, South Korea, Switzerland, and Singapore made it, what more if we apply the same here in the Philippines? Honestly speaking, as stated at the very start of this article that each nation has its own variation that satisfies its own security and defense needs. 

One cannot just apply the same here in this nation considering the different spectrum of national integrity across nations. And that includes the never-ending insurgency that keeps on plaguing the nation as it strives for peace. Imagine this: Mandatory ROTC includes training on how to handle guns, map-reading, etc. 

What if these people eventually get recruited by a rebel group? It is like the military trains its cadets, including potential enemies of the state, in which, by the time comes, they can use all knowledge and skills learned by these people in ROTC against the state and its elements. That alone is already a national security threat.

This is not only the reason it is not ideal to have it mandatory. Another reason that can make up from this is that military instructors, because they know that they have unlimited recruits since it has made mandatory, will have the training haphazardly done, or worse, applying their own will to the people, which include far, nasty things. 

Speaking of which, some people who favor of mandatory ROTC suggest that there will be reservations that there will be no corruption, hazing issues, lesser boring marches, and more active lectures plus actual training activities like disassembly/assembly of rifles and pistols, knowing map coordinates, firing in a shooting range, tactical maneuvers and more training necessary for a reservist.

Not only that. Since the proposals do include women in the ROTC, it has suggested that women are a welcome additive to the corps. However, having them also doing mandatory roles in the ROTC program is not good in this case considering that the reservist program is usually being taken part by males who really wanted to be part of the reserve force, wherein their labour is badly in-need in times of war. 

This is not a case hampering to the program itself, but hampering the women's role in the society as mere supporters in the effort of having a patriotic nation that they can do that in a way where they don't really need ROTC in their lives. After all, it meant these programs like the ROTC for people with pure volunteerism, that has sheer bravery to die for the country.

For a voluntary ROTC and mandatory ROTC, there are pros and cons that need to be considered.

Voluntary ROTC

- Quality over Quantity
- More volunteers willing to fight
- Instructors keen to make ROTC experience interesting
-  More actual training and tactical activities
- Firing, disassembly, and assembly of weapons, and touring.

- Reliable to the reservist corps
- Credible enough for the regulars to honor.

- Lesser numbers when in conflict
- Lesser workforce in HADR operations
- More time to convince people to join ROTC
- Strained incidents in the past hampered the image of ROTC
- The youth of today have little or no interest in joining ROTC.

Mandatory ROTC

- More personnel in the reservist corps
- HADR operations are much easier to handle
- More youths instilling patriotism and discipline
- Guaranteed additional reinforcements in times of war.
- A better, crowded and excellent parade and reviews
- Easily accomplished military assignments, given the numbers.

- Not guaranteed courage in times of war.
- Shortage of weapons of supplies that can cope with the reservists.
- Lesser training because of confidence by instructors, more marching.
- Disappointing cadets will take the shortcomings as worst experience ever.
-Grounds for corruption, hazing, bullying and other unnecessary incidents.
- Women will faint in the event of harsh activities, especially if not prepared.


An ideal ROTC program can come in two effective ways. One is the voluntary form of it wherein interested people are in with the sense of willingness to fight for the country, boys and girls alike. Another being mandatory with given reservations wherein proper training is done, women's entry is voluntary, tactical activities and weapons know-how a necessity, and most of all, lesser corruption, hazing, and other unintended incidents. 

Both of which will somehow instill discipline and patriotism in the male and female cadets of the said organization. However, discipline does best upon birth and with guidance from the parents, and patriotism can instill without the ROTC program. What matters most is this: Each citizen has his or her own share for the development of this country, in prosperity and security. No matter how big or small it is, it's deemed helpful for the great nation to improve as well as its inhabitants to live better.

(c) 2016 PDA, first edition 8-5-2022 

(exactly 6 years from the time this article has made, wherein ROTC is back once again in the picture).

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